Monday, May 25, 2009


To start off, we spent the least amount of time in Venice so I can’t really give a lengthy description on the history or the sights. We spent most of our time taking in the scenic waterways and trying to figure out where we were. Venice is impossible to navigate, with or without a good map. And to answer the question I know everyone will ask—No, we did not ride a gondola. But Coop did buy me flowers so it was still a romantic day and a half.

Venice is beautiful, extremely clean and everything you imagine it to be when you hear it’s a city on the water because it really is. We stayed on the mainland to save money but once you start walking over the first bridge into the heart of Venice, it’s nothing but a labyrinth of bridges, canals and walkways along the water. Venice definitely isn’t a hotspot for young people or for going out. During the day in St. Mark’s Square, the main plaza, it was filled with school groups and old people. There was virtually no one close to our age. At night in St. Mark’s Square, there was no one, which was really a shame because there are at least three or four groups of live musicians playing classical music every night.

One interesting thing that we had read about in our travel packet was that people bring their liter bottles to restaurants and wine shops to be filled up with wine. Sure enough the last day we were in Venice, lost as usual, we saw a sign that said something similar to fill your bottle with wine in Spanish so we peeked inside and there was a little old lady with a big plastic bottle that looked like it had previously held oil or some cooking ingredient and had been washed out. She handed it over to the owner like it was the most natural thing and he just fills it up with the house wine. It was just the strangest thing to watch as she handed over some loose change for this huge bottle of wine and walked off.

Another oddity was that in this tiny little Venetian town, there were countless illegal “street vendors.” Between the men selling the purses and the men practically throwing flowers at us, we had quite a time trying to avoid them. However, even stranger than the persistent nature of the sellers were the signs trying to persuade you not to buy fake name brand bags. They were really intense—“Do you really think you can cross the borders with counterfeit products?” “The material of these products could contain dangerous or harmful substances.” I’m pretty sure that these were put up by the shop owners but I’m not positive. Venetian laws are pretty strict on everything. You can’t picnic anywhere, you can’t sit anywhere not specifically designated for sitting, you have to be properly dresses at all times (no shirtless men or bathing suits, I guess) and you can’t use any bikes, skateboards or pretty much any type of transportation other than public water transit.

Well Venice was awesome but we’re already off to our last destination: Amsterdam. We’re staying on a boat—I can’t wait!

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